Lisa Shaw

If what defines a pop star is her ability to be consistently bigger than her songs, Lisa Shaw is the anti-diva. As forgettable as she is competent, the anonymously voiced Shaw is happy to fade into the background. And what painfully pretty scenery it is. Producers Jay Denes and Eric Stamile craft Lisa Shaw into what you'd expect from Naked, a label annoyingly pleasant enough to be the Katie Couric of dance music. Too much of Lisa Shaw is too slow (the particularly agonizing "When I" takes its cues from Coldplay when it should gank Mtume) or too obvious (the sparseness of "Grown Apart" gives way to layers of melodic support, and the effect is like going from lingerie to a girdle). Stamile and Denes, though, redeem themselves with the album's floor-fillers, particularly the murky disco of "Hot Skin" and the 21st-century boogie of "Born to Fly" and "Stylin'." These tracks let Shaw get lost in the crowd, where she belongs.

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Rich Juzwiak